Adding Sanders sends a message to the NFL — The 49ers are going all in

Niners aiming to force open their championship window a year early

Tommy Call
October 23, 2019 - 6:31 am

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason there was pressure on the 49ers front office and coaching staff to produce. The duo of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan generated a lot of hype, but not a lot of on-field results. Heading into Year 3 there was an expectation to crawl out of the NFC cellar and compete.

Listen to your team news NOW.

A winning record would be a positive and a shot at the playoffs would give the franchise hope they’re trending in the right direction. Now, things have changed. 

After seven weeks, the 49ers are undefeated and sitting atop the NFC standings. Just getting a shot at the playoffs isn’t good enough anymore. Super Bowl aspirations are real and after acquiring wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders from the Denver Broncos it looks like Lynch and company agree. 

As much as Sanders can help the 49ers receiving core, the addition is more of a sign the 49ers decision-makers believe they can make a run. The 49ers sent a thirs and fourth-round pick to Denver for Sanders and a 2020 fifth rounder. The 49ers now have their first-round pick in 2020 and don’t pick again until Day 3 of the draft. The 49ers are mortgaging their future to win now and kudos to Lynch for being aggressive. 

Time and time again we see talented teams be passive when it comes to trading draft picks. Adding Sanders sent a message to the rest of the NFL — the 49ers are going all in. 

The arrival of one of the best defenses in the league and steady play from Garoppolo with a shiny new weapon moved the 49ers timetable up. The window to make some noise in February with a chance at the Lombardi Trophy isn’t next year — it’s now. 

The acquisition of Sanders immediately gives the 49ers offense an injection of a playmaking pass catcher not named George Kittle. Yes, Sanders is aging. Yes he has some injuries in his past. But what he brings to the 49ers is more than just a spark for the offense. 

Sanders is established and that’s something the 49ers don’t have. He’s competed for championships before and won. Sanders is now the face of the 49ers receiving corps that’s only veteran presence is Marquise Goodwin who is only 28. After Goodwin, there's a bevy of youngsters who have talent but have been inconsistent. Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, Richie James, Jalen Hurd and Trent Taylor are all under 25.

One of Sanders’s best traits is his savvy route-running ability. Sanders can create space with every step he takes. He’s a tactical and calculated player. If Sanders can share the wealth he'll be a driving force in the development of the 49ers young receivers. 

The least he can do is be a proven safety blanket for Jimmy Garoppolo. Sanders should take some pressure off Kittle. His ability will give Shanahan some room to get creative with how he uses Kittle next to Sanders. 

The 49ers are heading down a path that's uncharted by most of their roster. Adding Sanders gives them another respected veteran alongside Richard Sherman. Both Sherman and Sanders have been down the path that ends with the Lombardi Trophy. They’ve competed with Russell Wilson, Tom Brady and Drew Brees in the playoffs. Their guidance on the 49ers road to ascension will be crucial down the stretch. 

Comments ()